Dr. Eisen Takes Legal Action to Suppress Criticism

In the true spirit of quackery, which cannot bear criticism or the exposure of its absurdities, Dr. Steven Eisen has expeditiously taken action to suppress my criticism of his marketing himself as a dog cancer expert despite no formal training in veterinary medicine, oncology, or any of the other areas of medicine in which he gives advice to dog owners. He has written to my internet service provider claiming that my quotations from his web site constitute copyright infringement. Here is the notice that was forwarded to me:

Sent via email and fax

re: DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Dr. Steven Eisen and I am President of Pet Love LLC. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.

Copyrighted text and graphics from several pages of our websites were copied onto your servers without permission. The original material, to which we own exclusive copyrights, ca be found at:

a)     http://dogcanceradvice.com/about-the-book-2/

b)     http://dogcanceradvice.com/canine-cancer-information/dog-cancer-treatments/

c)     http://dogcanceradvice.com/canine-cancer-information/alternative-cancer-treatments-for-dogs/

d)     http://dogcanceracademy.com/cancer-causing-toxins/

e)     http://dogcanceracademy.com/the-dog-cancer-diet/

f)      http://dogcanceracademy.com/canine-cancer-vaccinations

The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:

http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2012/07/dog-cancer-expert-steven-eisen-bad-advice-from-an-unreliable-source/

This letter is official notice under Section 512© of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing in not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

Under penalty of perjury, I certify that the information contained in this notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the copyright(s) involved. I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.

Dr. Steven Eisen

It is likely that my use of statements made on Dr. Eisen’s site constitutes fair use under copyright law, but that decision would need to be made by a judge in the course of a copyright infringement lawsuit. I am perfectly willing to argue that the fair use provisions apply here, since I believe the attempt to suppress criticism by Dr. Eisen is an illegitimate misuse of intellectual property law.

Unfortunately, my options under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) for response are not great. I can leave the material up, in which case my IP will shut down my entire domain within 48 hours. I can remove the quoted material. I can contest the complaint, in which case my IP will shut down my entire domain for 10 days. If Dr. Eisen doesn’t sue in that time, the domain is reopened. If he does, then it remains closed until the case is decided.

Such flagrant misuse of copyright law deserves to be contested, so I will be seeking legal advice on the best way to do so. In the meantime, if the site diappears for a while, you’ll know why.

7/31/2012 Update

I have temporarily removed the disputed material from the site and filed a DMCA counterclaim. Dr. Eisen now has 10 days to decide whether or not to file for an injunction. If he does not, the original material will be reposted. If he does, then a court will decide whether my use of his words in a journalistic critique on a public interest, non-profit web site constitutes fair use of copyrighted material.

 

JustHost Legal Team:

 

This letter is written in response to your notification to me of a complaint received about my web page(s). The disputed material has been temporarily removed pending a response to this counter complaint. Copies of the disputed material are appended to this counter complaint. The original page has been made private and password-protected and is not publically accessible. This page has been replaced at the URL below with a page that does not contain the disputed material. The page at which the disputed material appeared and from which it has now been removed is at the following URL: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2012/07/dog-cancer-expert-steven-eisen-bad-advice-from-an-unreliable-source/

My response to this complaint is as follows: Allegations of Copyright Violation / Digital Millennium Copyright Act The claims of copyright violation should be rejected because:

> 

My use of the material is legally protected because it falls within the “fair use” provision of the copyright regulations, as defined in 17 USC 107. If the complainant disagrees that this is fair use, they are free to take up the matter with me directly, in the courts. You, the ISP, are under no obligation to settle this dispute, or to take any action to restrict my speech at the behest of this complainant. Furthermore, siding with the complainant in a manner that interferes with my lawful use of your facilities could constitute breach of contract on your part.

This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3): I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law.

 

Indemnification of Host or Registrar I agree to defend, indemnify and hold the host or registrar, its affiliates and its sponsors, partners, other co-branders and the respective directors, officers and employees of each harmless from and against any and all claims, losses, damages, liabilities and costs (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs). My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:

I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside (or, if my address is outside the United States, any judicial district in which you, the ISP, may be found). I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.

My actual or electronic signature follows:
 

Having received this counter notification, you are now obligated under 17 USC 512(g)(2)(B) to advise the complainant of this notice and to allow restoration of the material in dispute unless the complainant files suit against me within 10 days.

 

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20 Responses to Dr. Eisen Takes Legal Action to Suppress Criticism

  1. Fourrure says:

    Dear colleague,
    I’m considering translating or simply reproducing your Eisen’s critic on my own blog (dedicated to describing my vet job to pet owner or curious people, hosted in France). If you agree and feel it useful in any way, I’d like to translate and publish the critic you did of Eisen’s quackery.
    Best regards

  2. Art says:

    Let us know if you need some money to pay lawyer fees.
    Art malernee dvm
    Fla lic 1820

  3. skeptvet says:

    As you know, the quotations I use from Dr. Eisen’s web site are the subject of a copyright dispute, so it is possible that any reproduction of those might subject you to some legal challenge. For my own part, you are welcome to reproduce anything I have written.

  4. skeptvet says:

    Thanks, Art. If it comes to that I’ll definately consider it.

  5. Stuart Turner says:

    One outcome of the assertions regarding copyright infringement and a DMCA takedown request by Eisen is the greater site awareness that this yields via the Streisand Effect[1]. It appears to be an effective strategy because the site’s design objectives are obvious; to drive not only pageviews/impressions but also the clickthrough rate for product sales. The site and accompanying book are rather effective embedded advertising vehicles.

    However, it’s not clear to me if broadly sharing important clinical knowledge is more salient to the site’s author than the use of unverified content as a sales platform. I say this in-part because of the transparent use of a plugin utility to disable normal browser functionality such as copying which is designed to impede effective open discourse via fair use to candidly and intelligently review and critique those assertions.

    The Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law is critically important for educational purposes which is clearly the intent of the SkeptVet blog. To use it properly, one must obviously understand it well. Hopefully this activity will help to enlighten and broaden one’s grasp of its methods and intent by readers of both sites and especially by Eisen. In fact, if Eisen were to embrace this notion, medical claims published on the site would be annotated with valid non-anecdotal resources, such as relevant (veterinary) prospective peer-reviewed literature or commentary by board-certified veterinary oncologists, which are glaringly absent.

    [1] Streisand Effect on Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    Stuart Turner

  6. v.t. says:

    I don’t see why you can’t leave the “revised” article up, since it pretty much covers your original intent (to expose alternative medicine, quackery, and those who make outlandish claims about unproven methods, and usually all at the expense of the conventional medical community). The quotes were removed, hence, no longer a copyright infringement. Anyone can go to his website and read the quotes along with the rest of the nonsense for themselves. These quacks truly deserve any criticism they get, and if they’re going to post this nonsense on their own websites for millions of people to see, then they ought to be prepared for others challenging their claims. If they’re going to sell books or products, then it’s fair game as well, they are open to criticism and scrutiny, in the name of protecting the public (and in this case, protecting innocent pets who’s owners have not received valid information in which to make informed choices).

    Btw, your blog is also copyrighted, as are it’s contents. Personally, I don’t see how he could ever win in court. He’s promoting quackery, you could countersue for defamation (since you vaccinate, provide dog food, treat cancer, etc, all of the nasty things he claims you do). 🙂

  7. skeptvet says:

    Yes, I could simply paraphrase rather than quote him, and then there would be no basis for a DMCA complaint. However, quoting a published work in order to critique it is commonplace and protected by the Fair Use provisions of US copyright law, and I don’t intend to allow Dr. Eisen to casually misuse copyright protections simply to silence critics without any real justification. I’ve already heard from another veterinarian who reviewed his book and then had to retract the review based on a similar complaint. It is a clear and flagrant abuse of copyright law and the DMCA, so I think it worthwhile to challenge it.

  8. skeptvet says:

    Interestingly, Dr. Eisen’s web sites have been unavailable most of the day today. May be a coincidence, but I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some editing going on to alter some of the remarks I cited. Hmmm…

  9. v.t. says:

    Absolutely, why should you have to bow to someone who has no real basis for the complaint (save for published text, but although the law seems unclear in some aspects, I believe quoting, citing reference, a limit on words – to some extent, was done appropriately, on your part. I doubt he’s upset because you didn’t ask him specifically for permission to quote his (nonsense), your first sentence in this article says it all.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all that he is editing his own website, he was brazen enough to link to his own links for the DMCA complaint, so if you saved them, there would be evidence to your favor.

    Hats off to you, Skeptvet for not taking this lying down!

  10. art malernee dvm says:

    Absolutely, why should you have to bow to someone who has no real basis for the complaint >>>>>
    My lawyer referred me to a boarded trade “mark” lawyer about thirty years ago because a large corporation wanted me to change the name of my animal clinic because they said they had trademarked the name “Boca West”. The boarded lawyer told me that the law was clear that I could keep the name Boca West but if the large corporation (Arvida) chose to follow though with their threat to take me to court I would need to cave and change the name because I could not afford the cost of defending myself in court. Quackwatch has a 40 thousand dollar lawyer bill right now they are seeking our help in paying because of whistleblowing and I would bet money Barrett has not broken the law. It helps if you are a whistleblower to have a member of the family who practices law who will work for free.
    art malernee dvm
    fla lic 1820

  11. Andromeda Williams says:

    Why go after Dr Eisen? He makes it perfectly clear in his book that he is offering his own experience to others to offer an alternative that was successful for him with his dog. There may be a better way out there, and I notice that you make no reference in your criticism to having tested his protocol. I think that is the only fair way to assess his contribution. There will always be a leading edge, and who knows where it might come from? Truth is truth wherever we find it. I have no formal education in veterinary medicine, but have cured my dogs of cancer four times. Why mock and condemn a man making an honest contribution based on experience? An open mind would be more productive of progress and genuine help for the suffering.

  12. skeptvet says:

    Dr. Eisen makes many claims which are patently false and others which have not been tested. He sells bad advice, whether he believes it or not, and does so by arguing that veterinarians and other doctors are wrong and dangerous. These claims are misleading and wrong whether or not he bases them on personal experience, and people have a right to know this.

    As for testing his plan, you seem to think trying it out on a few patients would lead to some kind of answer. If they did well, presumably you would consider Dr. Eisen vindicated. If they did poorly, would you be willing to write him off as wrong, or would you argue that maybe it works for some patients but not all?

    In either case, such uncontrolled experiences are not a reliable basis for deciding if a medical approach works. Here’s a more thoroough exlanation for why:

    Medical Miracles: Should We Believe?

    Why We are Often Wrong

  13. v.t. says:

    Andromeda, may I ask how you cured your dogs of cancer 4 times? Do you have sufficient evidence to prove that claim, or is this your personal anecdote only?

  14. THer says:

    Dr. Eisen’s dog cancer research far exceeds what vets in my area have done and his recipe for dogs with cancer has been approved as excellent by the two vets I use. In fact, some of the supplements that Dr. Eisen recommends are also being recommended by physicians in treating human cancer. As Dr. Eisen states, he is reporting what has worked for him and others…including me. He is not claiming it will work for everyone! His information is important and very encouraging to all who have pets with cancer and no one should have the right to prevent all who want it from getting his testimonial and information! Shutting down Dr. Eisen’s site is depriving desperate dog owners from information to help their pets and is “un- American censorship in my opinion. My 13 year old dog has lived 8 months longer than vets predicted…on Dr. Eisen’s recipe and is still going strong! Let his site be reopened and let “the people” decide to accept him or not.

  15. THer says:

    Eisen, Dr. Steven C.June 30, 1955 – Aug. 23, 2012Dr. Steven C. Eisen, D.C., 57, of Venice, FL, died on Aug. 23, 2012. Services will be held at 12:30 pm on Sun., at graveside at Venice Memorial Gardens in Venice, FL. Funeral arrangements by: Farley Funeral Home, Venice Chapel.Dr. Eisen is survived by his loving wife Leslee, brother Dr. Richard Eisen of Boston, MA and sister Dr. Linda Slak of Boston, MA – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/heraldtribune/obituary.aspx?pid=159462098#sthash.ASCtswqy.dpuf

  16. skeptvet says:

    First of all, it is ridiculous to suggest that public criticism of the claims and evidence someone makes when selling a product is “un-American censorship.” He is entitled and free to say what he likes, even when it is untrue or unproven, and I am free and entitled to explain why his claims are mistaken. That is as American and as far from censorship as it gets. The fact that you don’t like what I am saying doesn’t make saying it wrong.

    As for “it worked for me,” the same anecdotal claims have been made, and are made today, for every medical therapy ever invented. Either they all work, or human beings are imperfect and our personal experiences and judgments aren’t very reliable guides to what works and what doesn’t. The history of science and medicine is a compelling bit of evidence that the latter is true, that objective research works far better than anecdote. We are often wrong, and trusting our own experiences led to virtually no improvement in human health and longevity for most of the 10,000 years since the invention of agriculture. Then science doubled our life expectancy, wiped out most common causes of infant and child mortality, and reduced human suffering dramatically in a mere few centuries. You can reject the lesson of history if you want, but it pretty clear.

    Dr. Eisen’s information isn’t an “important” “chance,” it is made up nonsense. He isn’t helping people if his theories aren’t true, and there is far more reason to believe that they aren’t than that they are. You may believe what you like, but I believe the evidence is against Dr. Eisen and that he is taking advantage of desperate people and making money selling them hope without taking he responsibility to prove that what he believes and sells actually works. Truth is not a popularity contest in science because we have actual ways of testing for it, and you and Dr. Eisen appear to believe those methods are unnecessary and your individual observations and personal beliefs are good enough. I believe this is a dangerous view that leads us away from the truth.

  17. simba says:

    I think THer believes you are responsible for ‘shutting down’ Dr Einsen’s site (which is what they were calling ‘un-American censorship’), when in reality it was Dr Einsen who was attempting to suppress your speech about him.

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